Before I get started, I want to go on record as saying; this rendition of the Power Rangers is not intended for small children. This one is for fans of the original series that debuted in the mid 90s - Think Christian Bale's Batman versus Adam West's - two different things. So if your kid is bugging you and wants to wear his or her costume to the movie - don't do it without screening it first. Now, on the the review.
The Power Rangers tells a darker more grittier origin story of the original "human" Rangers and how they came to be. The opening scene sets the tone as Rita Repulsa (Elizabeth Banks) and Zordon (Brian Cranston) are introduced. It's at this moment you can gauge the visual of the movie and determine if you want your kids to continue.
The story flows as one would expect for an origins movie. The most notable thing is each character is working through some form of a social or personal flaw that limits his or her ability to easily fit within the team. As an adult many of their grips seem superfluous and a bit over-embellished such as the attractive cheerleader that suddenly is alienated by the other cheerleaders for reasons unknown. Just suck it up, they hate you cause they ain't you.
Humor abounds in this movie and I must say it comes along at the most appropriate times. We have Billy (RJ Cyler) the Blue Ranger to thank for the humor. His character is "on the spectrum" but is high functioning, a character trait that provides a great backdrop as his comments are always genuine and result in great laughs. He says what he thinks for better or worse.
The visuals in the movie are top notch and give us a take on the rangers that makes the spandex suits of the 90s look like... well the spandex suits of the 90s. The character models are a mixture of Tron Legacy with the Nolan Batman plated armor suit, resulting in a very impressive aesthetic. The only grip is, gamers and nerds alike will feel as though we've seen this design a million times - and we have. The Zords on the other hand did not impress much. Again, it felt like we had seen them before. Add in a lot of fast camera cuts and a limited capabilities and the Zords just don't make the cut.
The movie struggles in a few key areas: First, the initial meet up is rushed and defies logic as they (rangers) some how all end up in the same place at the same time in one of the most unlikely locations. Second, the movie suffers from what I call the Marvel Movie Middle, a condition where the middle section of the movie drags on for 30 minutes with no action, no major set pieces, nothing, just character development. For a movie that may pull in kids, this is a no-no, but then again, this reviewer is saying leave your kids under 10 at home for this one. Third, the buildup was a major disappointment. For all the training and character development that takes place the final battle just did not impress. They fought on foot, jumped in Zords, did some stuff that I won't describe (spoiler) then dipped out to the closing credits. For a kid dressed in a Halloween costume, this sucks and for a parent dropping dimes to get their young kids to this movie, it sucks even more!
As a fan of the first season and a half of the Power Rangers series, this movie is solid, even though I could have done without the Marvel Movie Middle. As for parents with kids begging to see this flick, screen it before you load up the SUV with all the kids in the neighborhood! If you think they can handle the profanity, a few butt shots, a baby oiled female in a two piece bikini and some really dark visuals, do what you do. Just be warned!
Oh and one last thing, the tail end of the movie and the post credit scenes more than make up for an extremely corny moment that takes place during the final battle.
Disclaimer: Steve is an employee of Turner Broadcasting, a division of Time Warner, however the views expressed in this post are of my own.